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FrankPalmerWhite

Is a definition subjective or objective?

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This point was raised during a much larger philosophical discussion.

I took the line that the definition of a word is subjective, it exists within the mind of the user. The object it is describing is objective (naturally), the word itself is objective (so long as it is written down or remains as sound waves in the air), but what you take the word to mean is subjective. The fact that there are very common definitions is a result of linguistic communication and dictionaries but that does not mean that that is what you take a word to mean, the definition exists only in your mind. I thought that for a definition to be objective it would have to exist pre-human thought.

I am very new to philosophy and objectivism. I was looking for some input on the question and also my reasoning.

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I can't imagine anyone denying that a definition requires a consciousness that knows it - no Objectivist anyway. In that sense they exist in the mind. This is perfectly compatible with the Randian claim that definitions are objective in that, if correctly formed, they are recognitions of objective facts. What you are calling "objective" ("it would have to exist pre-human thought") is what Rand called "intrinsic," a quite different notion.

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I took the line that the definition of a word is subjective, it exists within the mind of the user.
I'm not sure what exactly you mean by a "definition". Objectivism draws a distinction between a concept and a definition. I'll answer using terms I'm comfortable with...

A concept is a mental classification of real-world "things".

A word is a auditory (and later, visual) symbol that we use to represent a concept.

A definition an extremely brief "description" of the "things" that the word refers to.

We have the ability to form concepts by grouping real-world "things" in all sorts of ways. However, the main reason we form concepts is to be able to think about things. We think of a "burger" and there is all sorts of information that is tied to that in our minds. Imagine if we gave each burger a new name and did not recognize any similarities between them: we would not be able to think many of the thoughts that we can about burgers. So, though we can form concepts arbitrarily, there's no point doing so. Instead, we form them by looking at relevant similarities and differences of "things' in the real world. We come up with the concepts that we then name "burger", "greasy", "fresh", "huge", and so on. If we live in the Arctic, we come up with many more sub-classifications of ice and snow that someone living at a lower latitude, because it is important for us to distinguish between the different types.

As a joke, we could come up with some funny classification, and give it a name; but, we really could not hold too many such concepts in mind, except as a party trick. Of course, we can always make errors in classification. Still, in the main, there is a definite method to our classifications. So, if by "subjective" you mean that a concept can be anything at all: that's sort-of true, but that's not what concepts generally are, and that's definitely not how we come up with a good concept.

Rand does not use the term "Objective" to denote something that is and can be no other way. She makes a distinction between three theories of human knowledge: "intrinsicism", "subjectivism" and "objectivism". By "objective" knowledge we mean knowledge that is not revealed and does not have to be held the same way in all our minds, nor do we mean knowledge that each one of us can come up with arbitrarily. To be "objective", in Rand's sense, we must bring our human faculty and our requirements and apply them to the real world. We must discover a method so that our knowledge reflects reality, while serving our purposes, and being represented in a way that best suits our minds.

So, using Rand's terms: concepts are neither intrinsic nor subjective, but are objective.

If you're interested in this topic, I suggest picking up "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology". It is quite brief and an easy read.

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You are missing the idea that knowledge is conceptual and definitions are contextual. Your reasoning is good though.

All knowledge is conceptual (stored in the brain as concepts). So if you are trying to define the word pen, you have a concept of what a pen is. You can name numerous examples and characteristics of pens: used for writing, contain ink, felt pen. quill pen, and so on. All these connected ideas relating to pens are contained within your conceptual understanding of a pen. This is not subjective.

When you attempt to turn this concept into a verbal deffinition, there is a best way, objectivist way, of doing so. Frankly, I don't feel like going in depth into epistemology right now, but you can find a whole chapter on defining concepts in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (if you want to learn the details of ojective definitions).

So, there is a correct objective way to define a concept; however, that does not mean that a definition is rigid and universally applicable. Definitions are contextual. Depending on the circumstances in which the definition is being given, part of the definition may be changed. The concept being defined is still the same concept, the pen is still the pen, but different attributes of your concept of a pen are used in creating the definition.

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The words objective and subjective both refer to the methods used to understand and deal with reality. Just because something exists in the mind (is an understanding of some aspect of reality or some aspect of how one should act, in the context of reality, to achieve a goal) doesn't mean it wasn't the result of an objective process of creating it.

An objective method involves applying logic (a field of study that starts out with the fundamental notion that there are no contradictions, and creates various methods of reasoning that avoid or eliminate contradictions in our understanding of something) to reality. A subjective one involves either introducing something arbitrary into the material we apply logic to, or inserting some arbitrary, invalid method into logic. I'll give an example of both an objective and a subjective method for coming up with a plan to achieve a goal:

Let's say you want to be able to fly a group of people from point A to point B. That's your goal. You must study the relevant aspects of reality, and apply logic to them to figure out the easiest way to achieve your goal (build a plane that can handle the task). Your methods are objective.

Now, let's say someone introduces something arbitrary into the equation. Not into logic, but only into the material you're working with: God -a being that can manipulate the known rules of reality and responds to prayer- is added to your material. Suddenly, the easiest way to achieve your goal, given this new material, is not a plane that works, but prayer. The way to come up with that method is subjective, because it fails to only rely on reality.

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OK, I think I see where we have differed.

I was working off of this definition of objective;

objective

[əbˈdʒɛktɪv]

adj

1.

(Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual's conceptions

are there objective moral values?

this definition of subjective;

sub·jec·tive

adjective

1.

existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject ratherthan to the object of thought ( opposed to objective).

and a definition as being the description of the word, for example

The definition of a cake is objective as its characteristics are objective.

The definition of 'cake' is subjective as the word cake does not exist independent of the human mind.

If there is one thing I am finding mind boggling as a new, and self taught, amateur philosophy student, it is how important words and definitions are to making your point. Ironic.

I have read your points and will mull over them, any further criticisms of my logic or pointers to good intros to philosophy in general or the basics of objectivisms would be much appreciated. As would any pearls of wisdom or personal advice.

EDIT: Corrected a quote.

Edited by FrankPalmerWhite

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If there is one thing I am finding mind boggling as a new, and self taught, amateur philosophy student, it is how important words and definitions are to making your point. Ironic.
True; concepts are the most fundamental stage, where we classify stuff. So, they are the basic building blocks of knowledge and communication (of knowledge).

Why ironic?

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If there is one thing I am finding mind boggling as a new, and self taught, amateur philosophy student, it is how important words and definitions are to making your point. Ironic.

In my opinion, as someone began learning about objectivism in a similiar manner that you are, is get some basic principles down; then, if you really want to understand objectivism, focus on metaphysics and epistemology. Objectivism is built on these 2 areas of philosophy and everything else stems from them. O-Epistemology goes into evaluating arguments and making logical assertions.

personally, I really liked peikoff's "the philosophy of Ayn Rand for learning about metaphysics and going deeper into epistemology. I know others have critiscized it elsewhere in the forums, but I found it useful.

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An objective method involves applying logic (a field of study that starts out with the fundamental notion that there are no contradictions, and creates various methods of reasoning that avoid or eliminate contradictions in our understanding of something) to reality.

How would you know you were applying it to reality? Would it be more correct to say applying logic to what you believe to be reality? Wouldn't your understanding of reality be based on the perceptions of your limited senses which interact with the things around you, and your ability to reason out what these incomplete senses imply of reality (the resulting picture being potentially correct or incorrect)?

As a separate thought, can you not apply a system of logic to a hypothetical and thus non-reality, would that also qualify as an objective method? Is reality really required in order to apply an objective method? Or is it sufficient to have premisses and use objective method based off those? eg. reason what would happen to a penny thrown into the air if the earth had no gravitational pull. This is not a reality, but could you apply an objective method to it? Is your definition of objective method sufficient?

A subjective one involves either introducing something arbitrary into the material we apply logic to, or inserting some arbitrary, invalid method into logic. I'll give an example of both an objective and a subjective method for coming up with a plan to achieve a goal:

Let's say you want to be able to fly a group of people from point A to point B. That's your goal. You must study the relevant aspects of reality, and apply logic to them to figure out the easiest way to achieve your goal (build a plane that can handle the task). Your methods are objective.

Does it matter whether you can be sure that you have ascertained all the relevant aspects of reality, or whether some of the aspects you believe are relevant actually aren't? At that point are you using the objective method, or by having made a mistake in your assumption of what reality applies are you then relegated to being subjective? (as you have explained that subjective method is adding something arbitrarily into the material. What looks like a reasonable thing to be added by one, may seem arbitrary to another. And apparently anything arbitrary makes something a subjecitve method and not an objective one, correct?)

Now, let's say someone introduces something arbitrary into the equation. Not into logic, but only into the material you're working with: God -a being that can manipulate the known rules of reality and responds to prayer- is added to your material. Suddenly, the easiest way to achieve your goal, given this new material, is not a plane that works, but prayer. The way to come up with that method is subjective, because it fails to only rely on reality.

How can you identify what is arbitrary? How do you know there isn't a god that can manipulate reality and occasionally responds to prayer? Is anything which you have no firm proof as having relevance, necessarily not relevant and thus arbitrary? Is anything you couldn't do anything about arbitrary and thus accounting for it would fall into the realm of subjective method?

What if the great being in question only occasionally responds to prayer and flattery, then does it not make sense to pad one's bets and add religous accrutments to the plane just in case? Should you not weigh the probability of a god existing vs. the cost of religious ornaments and the time it takes the cabin crew to pray :) Or say the reassurance these trappings give the cabin crew whom believe in these things and thus perform better with them?

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Shion ( I like your username, are you Japanese or just into anime?), you seem like a smart guy, and I would love to have a conversation with you. However, your post seems to contain about 30 or so questions. I have no desire to answer 30 questions in one go, especially since a lot of those questions seem like statements to me.

Even just reading them with the attention I'm sure you expect of me, would be a bit much. It's very hard to decipher which of those questions are inquiries on my thoughts, and which are just a roundabout way to communicate your thoughts. Don't get me wrong, I love the occasional loaded question (and I will even tolerate the Socratic method, if I must), but two pages worth of questions is a bit much.

My suggestion would be to just state your position (because you obviously have a position), and then ask a maximum of three questions about aspects of my position that are unclear to you. Then I'll be happy to reply in a thoughtful manner.

Edited by Nicky

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"An objective method involves applying logic (a field of study that starts out with the fundamental notion that there are no contradictions, and creates various methods of reasoning that avoid or eliminate contradictions in our understanding of something) to reality."

My position is that I'm somewhat dubious on what constitutes reality, aside from that of my own existence. It is imposible for me to be wrong about my own existence being a reality as I wouldn't exist to be wrong if I was :) I'm also willing to grant that because I concieve of other things they are in some form a reality, even if only being products of my own conception. This isn't to say they exist outside of my conception of them, everything aside from me could be a product of an overactive imagination.

If an objective method requires that you apply logic to reality, how do you establish what is reality? Saying that you percieve a thing seems inherently insufficient as senses may lie.

This must sound like relatively primary school philosophy but your definition is not a very useful tool to being able to apply the objective method unless you can figure out what is reality.

Second Question: Please explain how the word "objective" used in the objectivist sense is different than the dicitonary sense. Someone pointed out that the dictionary definition of objective was actually intrinsic (Something existing indepenent of human perception). So what is objective?

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My position is that I'm somewhat dubious on what constitutes reality, aside from that of my own existence. It is imposible for me to be wrong about my own existence being a reality as I wouldn't exist to be wrong if I was :) I'm also willing to grant that because I concieve of other things they are in some form a reality, even if only being products of my own conception. This isn't to say they exist outside of my conception of them, everything aside from me could be a product of an overactive imagination.

So why are you acting as if that keyboard you typed this on, the forum you posted it on, and the people you're speaking to, also exists? Why are you acting as if the words you're using have meaning, and will be understood by anyone? You are defeating your own position.

If an objective method requires that you apply logic to reality, how do you establish what is reality? Saying that you perceive a thing seems inherently insufficient as senses may lie.

Perception and sensation are not the same thing. Sensations are the components of perceptions. Perceptions are the result of a group of related sensations automatically integrated (and retained into memory) by our brains.

But you cannot "prove", by some outside method, that perception is what it is, because there is no outside method. The concept of proof means to reduce something to direct perception. There is no other kind of proof, that could be relied upon to "prove" perception right.

However, the fact that perception of reality is undeniable (in any manner that is even remotely consistent with the message being conveyed), is an excellent reason to treat it as given. The only logically consistent alternative to that acceptance is total silence and inaction. Anything else automatically undermines the claim.

That is why, in Objectivism, perception of reality is accepted as self-evident (not individual instances of perception, but the abstract concept, mind you). Objectivism does acknowledge hallucinations and crazy people.

This must sound like relatively primary school philosophy but your definition is not a very useful tool to being able to apply the objective method unless you can figure out what is reality.

I'm sorry they poisoned your mind with such nonsense in primary school. Denying perception of reality by means of words, concepts, and other tools based on precisely that perception, is not a valid point. If you wish to deny our notions of reality, ignore everything we accepted and built on to help us live in it, first. Then try to deny it, using nothing but whatever you think exists.

The only thing teaching that nonsense to children accomplishes is that it undermines the significance of words and concepts in their minds. By using concepts outside the context they were created in (a context in which perception of reality is treated as self evident), it confuses them about what words and concepts are. It makes them think words and concepts are somehow divorced from reality and our perception of it, that they exist in a void, and that they should be taken as self evident, instead of our perception of reality.

That divorces philosophy from reality, and allows mystics to manipulate its concepts at will, with no one questioning how the concepts being used came to be.

Second Question: Please explain how the word "objective" used in the objectivist sense is different than the dicitonary sense. Someone pointed out that the dictionary definition of objective was actually intrinsic (Something existing indepenent of human perception). So what is objective?

Sorry, I'm not an expert on various dictionaries and how they choose to define this or that. I don't think it matters how dictionaries define the word "objective", to be honest. Odds are, the person defining it isn't even an authority in the field of philosophy, let alone an authority that is worth paying any attention to (most of them aren't).

I think the proper definition is the one Ayn Rand used, and I described in my original post.

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So why are you acting as if that keyboard you typed this on, the forum you posted it on, and the people you're speaking to, also exists? Why are you acting as if the words you're using have meaning, and will be understood by anyone? You are defeating your own position.

Perhaps it just amuses me too. People can fantasize about all sorts of things and dervie enjoyment from it. Make up stories, imagine keyboards to type on and talk to fictions of their own mind who write back quite entertainingly. Perhaps that is why I'm doing.

Or perhaps I have a faith that the things my senses tell me actually have an objective (dictionary sense) presence in reality, but my philosophy leaves open the possiblity that it's wrong. So few do. When others have faith about things, I am more sympathetic in my understanding of their position as I have to have faith that they exist at all, and if they do perhaps the things that they have faith in and can't prove are also true.

For instance to prove a being which can alter all my thoughts and change reality on a whim doesn't exist, is impossible for me to do. Thus I'm an agnostic open to the slim possibility rather than an atheist, for which I'd need definite proof which is unobtainable.

Perception and sensation are not the same thing. Sensations are the components of perceptions. Perceptions are the result of a group of related sensations automatically integrated (and retained into memory) by our brains.

But you cannot "prove", by some outside method, that perception is what it is, because there is no outside method. The concept of proof means to reduce something to direct perception. There is no other kind of proof, that could be relied upon to "prove" perception right.

However, the fact that perception of reality is undeniable (in any manner that is even remotely consistent with the message being conveyed), is an excellent reason to treat it as given. The only logically consistent alternative to that acceptance is total silence and inaction. Anything else automatically undermines the claim.

I'll grant you that there is a reality, it's just whether your senses are actually interacting with it that's the hitch. Maybe you don't have senses, maybe you only think you do.

So I think in a way we're saying the same thing. You have to say to yourself that it's likely you're dealing with real things and not being decieved. But ones philosophy then should take into account this assumption and the possibility that it's wrong. we'll call our assumed relayed via our potentially decieved senses, guessality then? We also can't make statements in our philsophies that say our methods work when we apply them to reality, we have to say when we apply them to what we have faith or hope is actually a reality or some such thing.

You say the only logical alternative to your senses accurately reflecting an objective reality is to undertake total silence and innaction. I don't believe this is the case. If I am in fact simply decieved by my senses, or say dreaming, and yet it's a fantastic enough dream to provide hours of enjoyment and intrigue and development of myself as a rational being, then why shouldn't I just get over it and start interacting? Is it more moral to not interact in the neuro interactive simulation to which you are subjected?

That is why, in Objectivism, perception of reality is accepted as self-evident (not individual instances of perception, but the abstract concept, mind you). Objectivism does acknowledge hallucinations and crazy people.

But I've given you a perfectly logical way that one could deny one has any interaction with reality. So it's not self-evident at all. It's a matter of faith that your right, but it's not self-evident. Perhaps it is self-evident that you need to make this assumption in order to proceed with objectivist philsophy, but that's an appeal to consequence. There are ways you could proceed if what you take as self-evident is not in fact the case, and so using the ultimate appeal to consequence that nothing would make sense if it weren't the case that I were right, is also flawed. There are numerous ways to explain your sensory interactions with a supposed world around you that have nothing to do with those senses being right.

I'm sorry they poisoned your mind with such nonsense in primary school. Denying perception of reality by means of words, concepts, and other tools based on precisely that perception, is not a valid point.

You miss my point, perhaps I'm denying it based on the perceptions that come from the sensory hoax that was played on me and the logic of my reasoning mind. Either reality or it's sensory faximile could give rise to the ability to do this, and that's the point.

If you wish to deny our notions of reality, ignore everything we accepted and built on to help us live in it, first. Then try to deny it, using nothing but whatever you think exists.

I don't ignore everything you've accepted, I just accept our ignorance in the matter for what you seem to take as an absolute. Why would I bother trying to deny it, I am willing to accept either possibility, I just insist that my philosophies do as well.

The only thing teaching that nonsense to children accomplishes is that it undermines the significance of words and concepts in their minds.

Questioing for oneself one's own existence and the essential premisses and assumptions one has about one's understanding of the world around them does a lot more than what you suggest. For instance let's say that I seriously doubt my existence for a bit, and have to work through why I do in fact exist. The affirmation of this fact and the process through which it achieve is of significant value to ones understanding of oneself. This is far more valuable than someone telling me, that I must or I should take my toys and go home.

By using concepts outside the context they were created in (a context in which perception of reality is treated as self evident),

It is the nature of that "reality" that's at question. I agree I exist and thus there is a reality, whether my senses impart any interaction with it, or wheter I even really have senses is what's up for grabs. Still I have generated these concepts within reality. I'm not arguing that there isn't a reality, I'm arguing that maybe you and I aren't interacting with it the way we think we are.

it confuses them about what words and concepts are. It makes them think words and concepts are somehow divorced from reality and our perception of it, that they exist in a void, and that they should be taken as self evident, instead of our perception of reality.

It may do this, or it may do something completely different. Perhaps it liberates them to think more objectively about their assumptions (dictionary sense).

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For instance to prove a being which can alter all my thoughts and change reality on a whim doesn't exist, is impossible for me to do. Thus I'm an agnostic open to the slim possibility rather than an atheist, for which I'd need definite proof which is unobtainable.

If definite proof is unobtainable then there is no slim possibility. Welcome to the deep end of the pool my friend ;)

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If definite proof is unobtainable then there is no slim possibility. Welcome to the deep end of the pool my friend ;)

If this creature were to say use it's mystical powers to forbid me from being able to process evidence of the proof of it (thus for me definite proof is unobtainable as I'd inherrently be forced to overlook that proof), that does not mean it doesn't exist. There is still the possibility of it's existence, I just can't know of it.

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The old "Can there be evidence for something if that something, in fact, does not exist." song and dance.

Wouldn't it be more to the point to say "can there be evidence disproving something from existing, if in fact, that thing does not exist". And yes there can. You just havent sufficiently supplied one for the mystical deity whom is capable of many things including intefering with man's reasoning.

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Perhaps it just amuses me too. People can fantasize about all sorts of things and dervie enjoyment from it.

How do you know that people can fantasize about things? What are people? What does "to know" mean? What does "can" mean?

So I think in a way we're saying the same thing.

You really don't see how absurd it is to tell me that "we're saying the same thing" right after denying that there's any reason to even believe that we're in communication through our perception and interaction with reality?

Where would you get the notion that "we're saying the same thing"? What could that possibly be based on, if you don't first accept that perception of reality is an actual thing and it connects us?

You say the only logical alternative to your senses accurately reflecting an objective reality is to undertake total silence and innaction.

When did I say that? What I'm saying is that silence and inaction is the only way to not contradict the claim that you know of no other existent except yourself.

As soon as you use a word or perform an action, you have acknowledged perception, because all words are built on perception and all actions are interactions with the reality we perceive.

If I am in fact simply decieved by my senses, or say dreaming, and yet it's a fantastic enough dream to provide hours of enjoyment and intrigue and development of myself as a rational being, then why shouldn't I just get over it and start interacting? Is it more moral to not interact in the neuro interactive simulation to which you are subjected?

Rationality is a constraint. It is what conforms us to reality. The reason why I want to be rational is because conforming to reality is the way to survive in it.

But if you're in a dream, why would you want to be constrained by its rules? Why would rationality be a good choice?

I don't know about you, but whenever I realize that I'm in a dream, the first thing I do is try to fly. Either by jumping up and just floating away, or if for some reason that doesn't work, by jumping off of something. Same with video games: first order of business is finding a cop and stealing his car. There is absolutely no reason to live by any kind of rules (be it the laws of physics or Reason in general).

Can you give me a reason why you wish to be rational?

Edited by Nicky

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Wouldn't it be more to the point to say "can there be evidence disproving something from existing, if in fact, that thing does not exist". And yes there can. You just havent sufficiently supplied one for the mystical deity whom is capable of many things including intefering with man's reasoning.

No, I stated it quite succinctly. Although, I did inadvertently use a period rather than a question mark at the end of the query.

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No, I stated it quite succinctly. Although, I did inadvertently use a period rather than a question mark at the end of the query.

Fair enough, but it does not seem relevant to my argument.

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How do you know that people can fantasize about things? What are people? What does "to know" mean? What does "can" mean?

Let's say I exist in my neuro interactive simulation, my sensory hoax where some alien species has come down to earth and re-created a believable simulation of what they believe 21st century earth was like. They want to do an anthopological experiment by introducing various situations to their human guinee pig and watching how I react. Let's even say their idea of what 21st century earth was like is totally off, but hey their video game right? They then cloned the brain of a human from some cells and hooked the brain stem directly up to a machine which would feed it information.

First of all I exist. I can be sure of this. Second the senses which I use to interact with the world are lying to me about what exists out there. I think I have a body, I think there are physical objects with which I am interacting, I am completely wrong.

However I can most certainly develop a language, as those things which I interact with have been programed to use one with me. I can use the term I, and I can think of the things which are supposed to be people as people and use the word. I see no difficulty in this.

What if I was an incredibly intelligent mystical being who is dreaming, and unlike the human things I dream I am (and incidentally made up), my dreams are completely rational and consistent and don't allow me to break the rules I've dreamed up, like say gravity for instance (it doesn't actually exist, it's just something my dream provided me with the contstraint of).

So "people" are a classification of something I interact with and appear to have the same attributes as me. "Can" is a word made up for me and introduced to me by the aliens, or provided by my remarkable dream (and thus secretly something I spontaneously made up), which I have assigned a meaning to.

None of your objections disprove my point.

You really don't see how absurd it is to tell me that "we're saying the same thing" right after denying that there's any reason to even believe that we're in communication through our perception and interaction with reality?

I don't believe I ever said there was no reason to believe that we're in communication. It is the most likely possibility. You could say use occam's razor which seems like a reason.

Where would you get the notion that "we're saying the same thing"? What could that possibly be based on, if you don't first accept that perception of reality is an actual thing and it connects us?

Well I either actually heard you say something similar, or I imagined you did (and you). Or I was fed an input from a program which said it.

When did I say that? What I'm saying is that silence and inaction is the only way to not contradict the claim that you know of no other existent except yourself.

I disagree, I was suggesting that one could interact with one's very logical dream and explore one's own subconcious, or one could interact with the neruo-simulation one is fed which is a sensory hoax. Why would my interacting with my dream be a contradiciton? If you say it has no rational purpose, I would argue that I am deriving a greater understanding of logic and reason from my interactions with myself. Your argument doesn't seem sufficient.

As soon as you use a word or perform an action, you have acknowledged perception, because all words are built on perception and all actions are interactions with the reality we perceive.

Perception of what is my question? Not necessarily anything that actually exists in any more sense than my dreams do. How do you know you are taking actions? Maybe you just think you are?

Rationality is a constraint. It is what conforms us to reality. The reason why I want to be rational is because conforming to reality is the way to survive in it.

Are you not constrained by reality regardless of whether you are rational or not? I don't think your statement is sufficient. Rationality is not what conforms us to reality, you must play by realities rules because it is reality whether you recognize it or not. Be as irrational as you like but you're not goin to fly by eating a donut.

I also wish to be rational for numerous reasons, not the least of which is because I enjoy reasoning things out and improving my ability to reason. Plus in being rational I can appreciate the things I interact with (whether their my mental figments, sensory hoax inputs, or actually physical things).

But if you're in a dream, why would you want to be constrained by its rules? Why would rationality be a good choice?

I answered this above, for the sheer joy of reasoning. But Alright here's a possible answer. Let's say you were a pretty powerful lonely mystical being whom is the only thing in existence. Wouldn't life get boring? Perhaps you would choose to make a fantasy world in your head with fundamental rules that you must play by, and then will yourself into this dream and will yourself to forget what you are till your done the round (your life). Now when I'm designing this game, do I make it so that if I want any pretty girl I see, I just get them,? and if I want to fly I just can? and if I want to snap my fingers and make icecream it appears? No. That wouldn't be very fun to think back on when I woke up. So setting a series of rules that things follow by and an inherrent logic to things, and limitations to myself is what makes the game interesting. Hopefully I still get the pretty girl :)

I don't know about you, but whenever I realize that I'm in a dream, the first thing I do is try to fly. Either by jumping up and just floating away, or if for some reason that doesn't work, by jumping off of something. Same with video games: first order of business is finding a cop and stealing his car. There is absolutely no reason to live by any kind of rules (be it the laws of physics or Reason in general).

Can you give me a reason why you wish to be rational?

I've given you several.

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Let's say I exist in my neuro interactive simulation, my sensory hoax where some alien species has come down to earth and re-created a believable simulation of what they believe 21st century earth was like

Simulation of what? Alien to whom? How do you know about 21st century Earth?

I am having trouble taking your claim that perception is invalid seriously, because you keep using products of perception in a matter of fact way. No-where in your description of these simulations and aliens do you consider the possibility that simulations, species, aliens, planets, time, etc. do not exist. Never have, never will.

You are talking as if their existence is a fact, while at the same time denying that it's a fact.

I don't believe I ever said there was no reason to believe that we're in communication. It is the most likely possibility.

Likelihood is a scientific term. It means a probability is greater than some others. Probabilities are determined based on facts.

What facts have you used to determine the probability of us communicating? And what method to calculate it, from those facts?

Edited by Nicky

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